Can I install a battery with a higher capacity than recommended by the car manufacturer?

23 Mar 2020

The question from the title very often recurs on various automotive forums. The answer? We asked an expert from VARTA (Clarios).

Before buying and installing a new battery, you should firstly consult battery catalogs provided by battery manufacturers. The catalogs are currently available in the form of printed materials, search engines on websites or even mobile phones applications. Regardless of the form, the catalog presents one or more batteries which are the ideal replacement for the pre-installed one. Nowadays, with the rapidly growing automotive industry and vehicles with increasingly advanced electrical parts, selecting the battery at random or basing your choice on the battery currently installed under your ‘hood’ isn’t the best course of action. In this area, problems mostly occur with used vehicles, the so-called ‘second-hand’ ones, in which the currently installed battery might not necessarily be the original one (e.g. replaced at the used car dealer’s) or a correctly chosen one. In the everyday practice of car mechanics, the vehicle user often takes part in the battery selection process and asks about higher capacity or higher starting current. In the past, there was a common belief that when considering the battery parameters, a deviation of 10% from the recommended parameters was acceptable. However, such an approach often meant larger battery housing which required more space to be installed. Nowadays, if the vehicle is highly equipped with various electric power consumers, including modern comfort and safety systems, the best idea is to choose a battery with more advanced technology, for example, EFB or AGM. Vehicles with start-stop systems that require batteries dedicated for such systems need special attention. In these vehicles, installing a conventional battery instead of a dedicated EFB or AGM battery can cause malfunctioning of the system, limit the ‘off’ mode time, increase fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions and make the battery wear out faster.”


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